National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day 2019

Have you heard about a day to celebrate the strengths and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children?

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day is celebrated across Australia each year on 4 August.

What is National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day?

national aboriginal and torres strait islander children's day logo

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families use this day to celebrate their culture, and it is a day and an opportunity for all Australians to show their support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, as well as learn about the crucial impact that culture, family and community play in the life of every child.

The year this event began was in 1988 – amongst the protests during the bicentennial year in Australia. It was decided at this time August 4th would be the day – a day that was overwhelmingly needed to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, to give them confidence and make them feel special and included. 

Since 1988 – Children’s Day has grown every year, becoming a major event in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and community organisations. In communities throughout Australia, this special day has been celebrated with activities such as cultural events, open days, arts and crafts, storytelling, face painting, concerts, morning teas and community barbecues. SNAICC organises a national launch for Children’s Day, held at a different location each year.

Outcomes for the majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are that they are thriving and growing up strong in their cultures, with support from their families and communities. Yet – there are still many inequalities, and ongoing issues that stem from colonisation and its effects, including discrimination, poverty, systemic removal, intergenerational trauma, dislocation from land and culture, and community disempowerment. Achieving equality would require redressing these challenges through a holistic approach that addresses all aspects that are important to children’s wellbeing, safety and development.

Statistics tell us that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are twice as likely to be developmentally vulnerable early in life, and only half as likely to access early education as non-Indigenous children. Children who are developmentally vulnerable are less likely to do well at school and are more likely to leave school early and have poorer life outcomes. In our modern society – this needs to stop, and it is days like this one – that will only empower the next generations to contribute to equality.

We Play, We Learn, We Belong

We play on our land. We learn from our ancestors. We belong with our communities.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day is celebrating the early years and promoting the importance of early years education and care. Ensuring recognition of the critical role that family, community, country and culture play in their development. And the continued fight for better access to culturally appropriate early childhood education for children through Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.

How your Centre can Celebrate Children’s Day

Ways that your centre, kindergarten or school can get involved are – hosting a morning tea or a barbecue, cultural dancing, arts and craft sessions, cultural exchanges, concerts and performances, storytelling, competitions, sporting days, games and activities. And also:

  • Arrange for kids at school or in Early Childhood Settings to create their own paintings and artworks about the Children’s Day theme, We Play, We Learn, We Belong, and display them for everyone to enjoy.
  • Organise an open day or morning tea at work for people to bring their children.
  • Arrange for kids to do culturally relevant activities in services, school, ECEC settings, or at home.
  • Hold a family fun day for foster and kinship carers and their foster children.
  • Promote the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in your school or local community through young achiever awards.
  • Organise a children’s picnic or activities in a local park.
  • Bring Elders, families and their children together in your service or school for storytelling and cultural activities.
  • Have a flag-raising ceremony with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags.
  • Tell your local newspapers, radio and television stations about why your service supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
  • Hold a fete or fundraising activity for children in your community.
  • Organise sporting events or competitions for children and young people.
  • Invite local leaders, politicians and Elders to spend some time at your service or school on Children’s Day.

Celebrating is acknowledging, respecting and contributing to a positive future, be sure to be involved.